Still Suspended After All These Years

Still got it!

I’m not sure what that means, but I think a Slatepitch is a model of Cannondale garvel biek that slots in just below the Topstone:

Always with the skidding in these videos:

I also had no idea what “Kingpin” means (in the context of the Topstone, that is) so I looked it up:

There’s some heady stuff in here:

Kingpin was inspired by the very nature of gravel riding itself; the contrasts, the unique demands, and the wide-open sense of possibility it brings.

Wait, are we still talking about bikes?

Gravel is primarily a road-riding experience, so you want that fast, snappy, mile-munching efficiency of a pure road bike. But you also want the rugged capability to be able to seek out adventure far from the confines of regular roads. We knew that to take gravel to the next level, suspension was the obvious next step.

Was it, Cannondale? Was it really?

Then again, you can’t accuse Cannondale of simply copying all their competitors who are doing the same thing, because they were pushing the idea way of gratuitous suspension long before it was fashionable:

And it wasn’t just cyclocross, either; Cannondale had suspension road bikes, suspension hybrid bikes, suspension touring bikes, and even suspension triathlon bikes!

If I was looking for vibration-damping comfort I’d start by putting on some pants but that’s just me.

Anyway, I suspect the reason for this is that by the mid-’90s Cannondale had become synonymous for harsh-riding bikes, and even though by that point they’d refined them considerably they probably had no other choice but to put a visible suspension on them.

Speaking of the road-riding experience, I recently conducted an informal modern/retro steel friction shifter bike shootout. First I rode this bike:

And the very next day I rode this bike:

Unsurprisingly, the shifting and braking on the Milwaukee is way, way more refined than it is on the Cervino–and that’s braking, not “breaking,” as the New York Times spells it:

[Via a reader.]

Basically it’s like the difference in feel between typing on a typewriter and typing on a laptop.

At the same time, shifting and braking aside, the Cervino feels more plush and luxurious than the Milwaukee, and while I still don’t know if it’s the tubulars, or the frame tubing, or the simple fact that it’s a little bigger and so the bars are a little higher, or the psychological effect of riding something vintage, it’s now won me over completely.

And it doesn’t even have suspension, go figure.

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